Author Archives: Luke Richardson

solar panel generating electricity for a home

How do solar panels work? The science behind solar power generation

Reading Time: 8 minutes

As the cost of solar energy has plummeted in recent years alongside major improvements in technical efficiencies and manufacturing quality, many homeowners across the U.S. are starting to look at solar as a viable renewable energy solution. And as solar enters mainstream energy markets, the big question is, “how do solar panels work?”.

In a nutshell, a solar panel generates electricity when particles of sunlight, or photons, knock electrons free from atoms, setting them in motion. This flow of electrons is electricity, and solar panels are designed to capture this flow, making it a usable electric current. This electric current is created by photovoltaic cells, and the components of those cells turn the electricity into usable power. 

In this article, we’ll break down exactly how solar panels produce renewable energy for your home and how pragmatic going solar really is.

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Ten facts solar

11 facts about solar energy that you didn’t know before

Reading Time: 5 minutes

The U.S. solar industry has witnessed remarkable growth in the past decade while the cost of solar has declined by nearly 70 percent. Prices reached an all time low in Q4 of 2020 across all segments of the industry, meaning solar energy has never been more affordable and accessible. Now that solar has entered the mainstream, everyday homeowners are starting to wonder how much solar could save them and how simple making the switch really could be. If you’re starting to think about installing solar panels, it’s helpful to understand the big picture for solar power. In this article, we’ll break down ten solar energy facts that shed some light on key parts of the industry.

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what are solar panels made of

What are solar panels made of? Cell types and parts of a solar panel explained

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Solar has entered the mainstream as the world’s cheapest energy source, leaving many people wondering how solar PV can be so efficient and inexpensive while still providing “green” energy. Answering that question means understanding how solar energy work, how solar panels are manufactured and what the parts of a solar panel are. Most panels available on the market are made of monocrystalline, polycrystalline, or thin film (“amorphous”) silicon. In this article, we’ll explain the different ways solar cells are made and what parts are required to manufacture a solar panel.

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key solar panel metrics

How long do solar panels last? Solar panel lifespan explained

Reading Time: 5 minutes

The industry standard for a solar panel’s productive lifetime is 25-30 years. However, a solar panel won’t die after 25-30 years, rather, their output will decrease a significant amount below what the manufacturer projected. It’s hard to understand the upfront cost of going solar without knowing how long you can expect your rooftop panels to produce ample energy. Your solar panels will be able to offset your electricity use for decades, but it is also important to understand industry projections and degradation rates. 

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solar panel installation

Solar panel installation: a five step guide to installing home solar panels

Reading Time: 6 minutes

More than a million homes have already gone solar in the U.S., and many more homeowners are considering installing solar. If you’re in the market for solar, you probably want to know what actually happens during a solar panel installation, or even how to install solar panels yourself. There are five main steps that need to happen after you sign your solar contract before the solar panels on your roof can actually power your home, and a lot of it is behind the scenes. To show you what you can expect, we’ve outlined a simple five-step guide for the typical solar installation process.

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solar carport

Solar carports: how do they work and how much do they cost?

Reading Time: 5 minutes

While a typical carport or patio cover provides shading and is undoubtedly a value-add for a home or automobile owner, its one-dimensional simplicity is a missed opportunity. If you’re a PV fanatic following emerging technologies in the solar industry, you may have already spotted the solar industry’s solution: solar canopies, also known as solar carports . 

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solar equipment for a solar panel system

What solar energy equipment do I need to go solar?

Reading Time: 6 minutes

If you’re considering installing a solar panel system, you’ve probably spent some time researching financing, tax breaks, and solar installers. However, you should also educate yourself about the solar energy equipment your system needs to get up and running. While the components of a PV system are simple, the different product options and brands can make the equipment selection process fairly complex. We’ll break down all things solar power equipment in order to best prepare you to select your hardware.

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srec prices ma nj and dc

SREC prices: explaining how to sell your RECs in the U.S.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

If you’ve been researching the best solar energy incentives available, you have likely heard something about solar renewable energy credits (SRECs). SRECs are a tradable commodity that you obtain from owning a solar panel system and producing clean energy. Because of a common state requirement known as the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), many utilities must generate a certain percentage of their energy from renewable sources, typically at least 20 percent. In several states and Washington D.C., the RPS specifies that a certain percentage of the renewable energy produced must come from solar power. States with this type of “solar carve-out” are willing to pay significant amounts of money to take credit for the power generated by solar homeowners.

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